"We worked together, we laughed together, we cried together. She was a force," Carol Burnett said of her daughter.
Carol Burnett will commemorate turning 90 later this month. While Burnett's nine decades have been marked by spectacular professional accomplishments, she has also experienced significant tragedy, including the passing of Carrie Hamilton in 2002, one of the three daughters she had with her second husband Joe Hamilton.
"There's not a day or almost a moment goes by that she's not with me," Burnett tells PEOPLE.
Hamilton was an actress like her mother. She played Reggie Higgins in the television series Fame, as well as appeared in the films Tokyo Pop and Shag. In 1990, Hamilton and Burnett co-wrote the play Hollywood Arms, which was based on Burnett's biography about her childhood. They also appeared together in an episode of Carol & Company. "We worked together, we laughed together, we cried together. She was a force," Carol spoke of her daughter on PEOPLE TV.
In addition to her drug addiction, Hamilton battled lung and brain cancer, which was discovered in 2002. She passed away the next January at the age of 38. "When she got sick, I remember she was in the hospital and I would go to see her every day," Burnett recalls. "One day, a nurse at the hospital said, 'Carrie cheers us up.' I asked Carrie why she was always cheerful, and her reply was, 'Everyday I wake up and decide.' That's the key word, decide." Now, Burnett says, "I say that to myself every morning."
The six-time Golden Globe winner is aware of how fleeting life can be. "It's taking [it] one day at a time," Burnett says. "You don't know. Life can change on a dime. So just be grateful for today what you have."
Burnett is gearing up to celebrate her 90th, and shares how she feels like she hasn't aged a day. "I can't wrap my head around it. I still feel like I'm about 11, but I'm amazed. It sure went fast. But I'm glad because I've got all my parts — got my hips, I got my knees and I've got my brain, so I'm happy about that," Burnett told the outlet as she shared how she felt about aging and her grand birthday plans. "I used to pretend to be on a radio show. I would yell out the window, 'Now ladies and gentlemen, we have a young girl who is going to sing here without any musical accompaniment',” she said.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Michael Loccisano